Leonora Carrington was born April 6th, 1917 in Clayton Green, England to the family of a wealthy textile manufacturer. Ms. Carrington was rebellious in nature and expelled from multiple schools. Her family decided to send her to Mrs. Penrose’s Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. Little did they know that this only added fuel to her artistic fire.
She met artist Max Ernst in 1937 and later married him in the South of France after he left his wife. Both supported each other’s art until Ernst was arrested by the Gestapo. Carrington fled to Spain and was institutionalized for emotional distress. Unfortunately, Ernst and Carrington never reconnected due to the stress of life’s circumstances.
Carrington sought refugee in Mexico and spent the majority of her life creating art. She is well known for being one of the first female surrealist painters in an art world dominated by male painters. According to William Grimes of The New York Times: “Her interest in animal imagery, myth and occult symbolism deepened after she moved to Mexico and entered into a creative partnership with the émigré Spanish artist Remedios Varo. Together the two studied alchemy, the kabbalah and the mytho-historical writings Popol Vuh from what is now Guatemala.”
Leonora broke Christie’s auction house’s record for a painting sold by a surrealist painter when her painting “Juggler” sold for $713,000. Not bad for an artist that at one time her counterparts considered her to only be a muse, maid, and errand girl. Her spirited attitude, tenacity, and endurance result in timeless art.
Ms. Carrington died of pneumonia in Mexico City on May 25th, 2011 at the age of 94.
“Reason must know the heart’s reasons and every other reason” Leonora Carrington